Nurturing a narrative of hope, joy and transformation, the Skylight Festival is a celebratory and creative space where diverse communities connect to explore arts, faith, peace and justice.
Skylight is spiritually-grounded.
Skylight promotes inclusivity and diversity, valuing and fully-affirming all people while privileging historically marginalized voices (i.e. women, people of colour, sexual and gender minorities, economically marginalized, etc.).
Skylight promotes fair trade and environmental sustainability.
Skylight promotes social justice and peace.
Skylight provides a respectful and nurturing environment in which all are welcome.
Skylight is committed to creating ‘safer space’.
Skylight Festival began in 2013 when a group of United Church of Canada leaders and a group of Mennonite Church Canada leaders both attended the Greenbelt Festival of faith, justice and arts in the U.K. In 2014, a group of United Church folk who attended the Wild Goose Festival of arts, spirit and justice connected and were inspired to brainstorm ideas for a Canadian version. So by early 2015, there was a movement to create a similar festival in Canada, and there was so much passion that that festival materialized in the summer of 2015! Festivals have occurred every summer since, the first three at the Paris Fairgrounds, and in 2018, at Five Oaks Education and Retreat Centre. This new partnership with Five Oaks is celebrated, and it has become integral to our vision moving forward.
The festival has been carried by a small number of people over the years, mainly populated by folks associated with the United Church of Canada and some Mennonite Church Canada. I believe it is fair to say that the festival would never have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for the efforts of Vic Thiessen, who served as a paid festival coordinator until the spring of 2016, when it was realized that a paid staff position was not feasible. The contributions of EDGE, the United Church of Canada Network for Ministry Development, have also been key to the formation and sustainability of the festival.